This Veterans Day weekend, Walmart is working in conjunction with Roswell’s Rocha, Salas, Naylor and Martinez Adopt-a-Soldier Program to make sure those fighting overseas receive a little bit of Christmas cheer this holiday season.
The store is hosting an event on Saturday from 3-5 p.m., honoring those who have served the country. During the ceremony, the national anthem will be sung, an official document will be read and more information about the Adopt-a-Solider will be shared. Refreshments will also be served and all who attend will have the opportunity to write notes to the soldiers, thanking them for their service.
Nicole Vargas, founder of the Roswell program, said they have been collecting personal items such as baby wipes, socks, coffee and hand warmers, and treats like beef jerky, cookies, and even board games. She said there’s been a huge response from the community as everyone’s thinking of the troops during this holiday season and about 200 pounds of items have been collected. That number does not include contributions she’s anticipating getting from the East Grand Plains area. Her ultimate goal is to ship the packages out to the soldiers by Nov. 17, so that they may receive them in time for Christmas. She said she is thankful for the volunteers who have helped pack boxes, as well as the rest of the community’s support.
“I really appreciate the schools like El Capitan and Roswell High School that are doing stuff for the vets this week and next week,” she said. “It instills at a young age in some of these kids just exactly what our soldiers are all about.”
The challenge now becomes raising money for shipping. Vargas said they are usually able to use standard mailers, which are about $14 to ship, but due to the outstanding generosity of the city, they’ve had to use bigger boxes, which are about $30-40 to ship. She estimated total cost to send the packages will be about $200 or roughly $1 per pound. The gifts will be divided among four units, two in Afghanistan and two in the Sinai of Egypt.
Vargas noted that while she may get busy with her own hectic schedule, she’s reminded every now and again just why she does this.
“I’m just so proud of them and everyone who thinks of us and thinks of the soldiers,” she said. “I got a letter the other day … and he just said thank you for thinking of us and thank you for the moral support. It goes a long way here and we’re very excited to get your packages.”